DEAR JERRY: In the early '60s I lived in northern California. My radio was cobbled together from old tube radios. Until I moved away, my dad never discovered the antenna stapled to the roof or the ground wire through a hole drilled in my bedroom floor.
There while listening to XERB and KRLA until the wee hours of the morning (I disabled the dial light with a switch for concealment at night), I heard an instrumental I think is titled “Hawaiian Tattoo.” There were also some radio stations in the east that I heard playing this. I liked the beat of the drums and would love to know the correct title and artist.
Alan, via e-mail
DEAR ALAN: During an era when radio offered more entertainment than any time in its history, Top 40 devotees found many creative ways to keep up with the hottest tunes. You obviously were no exception.
My most memorable shred of classroom inventiveness involved stuffing a tiny transistor radio in a pocket and running the ear piece wire up my arm, under a long sleeve shirt of course. Holding the ear piece in the palm of my hand, I leaned my head against the hand holding the earpiece. Hey, desperate times require desperate measures.
The Polynesian piece you heard is “Hawaii Tattoo,” a late '64-early '65 hit for the Waikikis (Kapp 30).
DEAR JERRY: I turn to you as the last resort. I have been a drummer since grammar school. I have also worked as a disc jockey for the past 15 years. During my musical travels, I have searched unsuccessfully for one song, but no one has been able to help me.
My father has asked me several times to help identify and locate a childhood favorite of his. I estimate it was out in the early-to-mid-'50s. Dad says it is the B-side of a 45 of “Night Train.”
All he can remember is it is sung by a black bluesman with a deep gravelly voice, and a chorus of “Cause it's so good to eat.”
I know this not much to go by. I have checked with many record stores, collectors, and anthologies, to no avail.
Any help or guidance in identifying this lost treasure would be greatly appreciated.
Michael Hebert, New Haven, Conn.
DEAR MICHAEL: I should have been your first resort. I could have saved you years of fruitless searching.
The record your pop is seeking is “Cuz It's So Good,” backed with, as you say, “Night Train.”
The singer on this fall '59 release is Ernie Englund.
I know of no reissues or compilations containing this track, so your best bet is to look for the original 45 rpm single (Cadence 1269), which should be available for around ten dollars.
DEAR JERRY: In a past column you mentioned Joe Walsh's “Songs for a Dying Planet” album, how he used Morse Code on “Vote for Me,” to send the message: “REGISTER AND VOTE FOR ME, AR.”
This is not the first time he pulled such a stunt.
On his “Barnstorm” LP, (Dunhill DSX-50130), he ends the track “Giant Bohemoth” with “REGISTER AND VOTE” in code. This sequence runs exactly 60 seconds.
This LP came out in mid-'72 a presidential election year and as Program Director of WHCN in Hartford at the time, I had the jocks play that one-minute portion of the song about 10 times a day. Of course we logged it as a Public Service Announcement each time, helping to fulfill our FCC requirements.
Winn White, Tampa, Fla.
IZ ZAT SO? Despite being named the Waikikis and turning out hits titled “Hawaii Tattoo” and “Hawaii Honeymoon,” the Waikikis hailed from thousands of miles from the Islands Belgium to be exact.